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Best tulips for cold zones (perennial)

Posted by phylrae z5a/centralNYS (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 12, 06 at 19:58

I have a feeling you will probably tell me what I have already read. I LOVE the viridifloras, parrots, fringed and peony type tulips. Darwins kind of just bore me, but I THINK I've read that Darwins are the only type for cutting that are reliably perennial. Is this correct? I would LOVE to plant the kind I love for bouquets, but I don't have that kind of $ to have them die each winter. Suggestions appreciated! :0) Phyl

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Best tulips for cold zones (perennial)

The Darwins are the only ones that have been reliably perennial for me, though I did have some red and yellow parrots from a mix come back for several years. Three years ago I bought the Darwin mix from Van Bourgondien...approx $70 for 300 top sized bulbs. I planted them in my veggie garden. They have been spectacular for 2 years straight. The soil is very rich and deep with excellent drainage. By the time they are finished, with the foliage almost died back I can plant my tomatoes, cukes, peppers etc. This area does get ferilized regulary (organic) and I do let the foliage die back befor removing. Good Luck!

RE: Best tulips for cold zones (perennial)

My Single Late tulips came back well for the first two years. After that, the plants still grew very well, but they didn't all bloom, because they split/multiplied into too many smaller bulbs, too small to bloom. AND they got botrytis bad enough to ruin the flowers for cutting. I think that if I'd fertilized them more regularly, and planted them farther apart, and the weather had been different (we have very cold, very wet weather right through June), they'd have kept blooming into at least the fourth year (this year). Big Smile (a HUGE yellow), a white, and Menton (apricot pink) were indeed planning to bloom this year, or at least I assume so from the size of the bulbs I dug up to replace with strawberry plants. I also had several Lily-Flowereds; none of them repeated as well as the Single Lates.

Lots of people around here have perennial tulips that keep blooming, quite a few different kinds. My Angeliques, Apricot Beauty, and some pink fringed types kept blooming for three years, and who knows how long they'd have kept blooming, but the voles got them. In zone 5, I think you have the right amount of winter chill, so I think as long as you plant them far enough apart, consistently feed them, don't cut the leaves, and don't remove foliage until thoroughly dead, a lot of them will come back for at least a few years.


Oops! Forgot something!

I meant to mention our rather cool, no-rain, no-humidity 2-month summers, with consistently cold nights, that might give this area an advantage with tulips. It's different from yours, and I don't know if that matters.


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